A Travellerspoint blog

"Eh-Koo-Mee, Eh-Koo-Mee, Sir?"

by swhite

sunny 95 °F

We're Baaaaack!

When we decided to come back to Thailand for a second time I was a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to all it was before...but all my doubts we put to rest after stepping back on Thai soil. I love this place! The people are just as friendly, the scenery just as beautiful and the food just as tasty! We decided to go back to some of our favorite places once again, and were lucky enough to have a member of the high-5 from Korea, Jillian, come join us for part of it! Since most of these places are old news to those of you who read the last blog, I'll just touch on some of the highlights from this time around.

We started off in Bangkok once again, and decided to venture off of Koh San Road, the main backpacker hangout, and see some new parts of the city.
We wandered through the flower market,
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then headed across the river to see some of the temples.
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The amount of detail they used is so impressive and it's incredible what they were able to do so long ago!

Our first stop down south in the islands was Koh Tao, which means 'Turtle Island'. This was a new spot for us, and we had heard that it was beautiful and known for it's diving and snorkeling. Our first day there I got a little too much sun so Gabrielle had to head out on a snorkeling trip without me while I hid out in the shade for a day. I got a new underwater camera for this trip and it has been a blast to use so far!
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Our next stop was Koh Phangan, home of the full moon party! We love neon paint and dancing so much that we had to go back for a third time! We had a blast once again but we're finally ready to move on from it. Since we are veterans and we know that it is usually fine just just show up places and find rooms without booking we thought we'd be fine here, too. Turns out it was a little busier than expected, and the only place available was someone's loft above the 'Shop and Mart'! We were able to move after two nights there, but we liked to call it our cozy little cave.
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This is also where we were meeting up with our friend Jillian. She was flying into the neighboring island, and we had foolishly thought that we would be able to guess what ferry she was on and meet her at the pier. We thought we had the timing right and went to wait at the pier we assumed she'd be arriving at. After waiting for 2 hours and asking around and everyone telling us a different time the ferry would be arriving, we thought our best bet would be to head back to the hotel. Low and behold our friend was waiting for us there! We had a happy little reunion and filled each other in on things, then spent the next few days laughing, chatting, playing with babies and just rolling around in the sand.
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We took a day trip to a different beach, and our long-tail boat driver may be the oldest man I've ever seen! My guess was 103...
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We needed to get all the way across to the opposite coast for our next island, and decided to take an overnight ferry to avoid missing out on an entire day since Jillian's time was limited. It turned out to be an exhausting little excursion, but a new experience nonetheless!
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Our stopover between islands was in a town called Krabi. We spent the day lounging on the beach, reading and playing in the water.
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We were taking naps in the shade and the girls decided to get up and get a drink at the bar nearby. There was a group of Thai men behind us just hanging out and drinking some beers. When Gabrielle got up I vaguely heard someone talking to her, but didn't think anything of it. I started to hear some faint speaking, and had a bad feeling it was directed at me, but pretended to keep 'sleeping' anyway. As it got louder and louder I started to listen and heard a man saying 'Eh-Koo-Mee, Eh-Koo-Mee, Eh-Koo-Mee...' I had a sinking feeling this person was tying to get my attention, and that they were trying to say 'excuse me'. The kicker came when he got louder and said 'Eh-koo-mee, eh-koo-mee, Sir??' I turned around and sure enough there was a jolly little man with a big grin. We've been called sir a few times before since people don't know the difference and are just trying to be polite, but it's still funny to hear. I smiled and he got really excited and kept saying 'You, book sleeping. You...hahaha...sleeping book!' Which, yes, meant I had been sleeping on my book. I got up and joined the girls at the bar, only to be followed by our new friend. He insisted on buying us drinks, and then decided it was a good idea to order himself an entire bottle of Tequila! He tried really hard to follow our conversation, but every time Gabrielle spoke he would chime in, 'Teacher, slow slow...too fast for me!'

After Krabi our next stop was Koh Phi Phi, my favorite island from last time. We wanted Jillian to see all the surrounding beaches so we booked a day snorkeling trip. We got lucky and had a small boat with just one other person. He turned out to be tons of fun and we spent the entire day in hysterics. My underwater camera proved to be useful once again and we got some fun shots.
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At the last beach of the day we were all pretty exhausted so we were just playing around in the waves when Brie came up with the genius idea to put some life jackets on like diapers and float around in our new seats. It was such a blast!
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We had a great time with our new friend and plan to meet up with him at our next stop, Chiang Mai.
Until next time!
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Posted by 3ifBySEA 04:35 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Old Stuff (Europe)

by gabrielle

rain

Yes! We did it! Swhite and I completed our year-long teaching contracts in Seoul, Korea (last month) and have rewarded ourselves with … another epic backpacking trip around South East Asia! Our 2010 adventure with our third musketeer, Melanie was such a roaring success we used the dream of one day returning to the beaches, smiles and noodles of Thailand as motivation to persevere through our less than desirable job conditions in Korea. This time around we plan to hit Northern Thailand, Vietnam and Laos; all places we wanted to visit on our last trip but chose to cut out so they wouldn’t be so rushed. We will of course spend a couple of weeks back on the islands in southern Thailand because it was just so darn fun last time. Added bonus: Jillian, one of our dear friends we met while teaching in Korea will be joining us just in time for the Full Moon party on Koh Panghan… ahhhsahhh!
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As some may know Swhite went to college in England and hasn’t been back since she graduated in the summer of 2010. Since we are both constantly on the hunt for great flight deals and opportunities to add extra stops and excursions on the cheap, we discovered we could afford to make a pit stop in London on the way to Bangkok to visit her friends. Swhite arrived in Londontown in late March and was there about 2 weeks before I arrived giving her a good amount of time to catch up with everyone before I showed up.
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Our hostess, Laura:
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Since we have both been to London before and were attempting to travel Europe on a budget we took a lot of self –guided bus tours during the day while her friends were all working. And by self-guided I mean we would think of places we had heard of like Chelsea, Nottinghill/Portobello Road, Westminster etc look up the nearest bus stop to the desired location, hop on a double-decker bus and sit in the front seats of the top level and jump on and off as we pleased. Even though the busses were considerably slower than the underground subway system, we totally preferred to be above ground and seeing stuff as we went from place to place, especially considering the fact that it rained and rained and rained. Like this:
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I was really impressed with this ad. Perfectly worded. I hope other major cities follow suit. The bus says, "Some people are gay. Get over it."
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Other sites on our "tour" :)
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I was pretty set on taking in a professional soccer (football) match while in England. Swhite has a friend who lives in Brighton, a coastal town about an hour from London so we headed there for the day to meet her for lunch and see the game. We wandered through “The Lanes” or cute, narrow cobblestone streets, ate a delicious pasta lunch then killed some time near the pier with a bottle of wine before the game. As we headed back to catch the train to the stadium we got a few more cans of cider for the ride. The special price was for a four pack so we got all four and I put the extra two in my oversized coat pockets. We met two friendly older lads in the rowdy line of fans ready to get on the train who were able to snag a few seats for us on the crowded train. Our accents are a dead giveaway of course so they asked us a few questions and were able to fill us in on their beloved Brighton Seagulls team. I remembered I had those two extra cans of cider in my pockets and offered them up to our new friends old-west-quick-draw style. To say they were impressed would be an understatement! They kept saying, “She’s a proper fan! The American is a proper fan!!” and had a good laugh about it. English people say “proper” in place of “real, actual or legitimate” and I kind of love it! People describe someone as a “proper girlfriend” or say they need to find a “proper job” , I even saw one birthday card that said, “OMG, you’re like, proper old!” I don’t think the phrase will ever take off in the US but I dig it.
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The Brighton FC Seagulls fell 1-4 to Watford FC but we met another fun friend at the game, Adam, had decent seats right behind the goal and watched some impressive soccer. Here are some pics:
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And we went and saw "Shrek: The Musical" on the West End. It was quite fun!
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Did I mention that the trade off for cheaply adding London to our itinerary was a 22 hour layover in Kiev, Ukraine on the way to Thailand? Yeah well, that was the deal! Since the layover was sooo long we decided to take advantage of this stop we would never choose to make, booked a hostel for the night and set off to check out Kiev. Let’s just say we have never been so unprepared to visit a place! First of all, the Ukranian accent was so thick the only words we understood in the first passenger announcement (in English) were “captian” and “celcius” and the only thing we thought we heard in the landing announcement was, “mesquite chicken.” Hmmm… Once we landed we went to exchange the last of our British pounds to Euros only to find out the currency was “uah” which we later found out is called Grivna… turns out we know absolutely NOTHING about the Ukraine. Our journey to “city center” took about 2 hours and consisted of a long bus ride and 3 stops on the subway. We pretty much stared out the window of our extremely dirty bus in awe of the lack of updated anything. There were countless rundown buildings, closed/abandoned businesses and really outdated billboards with clothing and fashion styles from the 80s and 90s.
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Once we were in city center the scenery completely changed and we were surrounded by the big beautiful Russian influenced architecture style we were expecting. We tried Ukrainian food at a place recommended by our hostel lady and really enjoyed it! We didn’t know what anything was and it was set up sort of buffet style so we tried a bit of everything!
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We didn’t have too much time to explore next day so we got up at 7 am to walk around the city before making the trek back to the airport. Of course we found a few more scenic spots to PowerKick! Our visit was brief but I’m glad we went into the city. I just might do a little research about the Ukraine now, better late than never!
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Next stop, BANGKOK… stay tuned!

Posted by 3ifBySEA 23:43 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged ukraine Comments (0)

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